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Professional Edge and Other Affordability Measures and Priorities for 2017-18

Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
To: THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY
From: President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katherine Fleming

Making NYU more affordable for more students and families is one of our ongoing priorities. NYU has tallied the lowest two-year growth in undergraduate cost-of-attendance in two decades; hourly student pay has been increased; many more lower cost beds are available in student housing; and every undergraduate school now has an acceleration advisor available to help students consider if graduating in fewer than eight semesters makes sense for them.

There is no single solution to affordability. So, the Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group (whose most recent update is here) is introducing a series of new programs in 2017-18, and also undertaking new areas for review.

Professional Edge

First and foremost among these new programs is Professional Edge, a cost-free plan to give undergraduates industry-specific skills that support their future professional goals. Beginning this semester, juniors and seniors may take one non-credit course per semester at no cost in our School of Professional Studies. Working with advisors, they will select courses that can assist them with career interests or give them an advantage in the job market upon graduation – for instance, a course on art valuation for an art history major, or a course on intellectual property for a recorded music major, or a course that provides professional knowledge to complement an internship. The courses, typically taught by working professionals, also help students develop networks in their chosen fields.

The courses start soon. Click here to learn more and to register for Professional Edge courses.

Reducing Textbook Costs

The Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group found that the cost of textbooks was a major concern among students. Over the summer, NYU contracted with Follett, an educational services company with a proven track record of reducing book prices, to operate our bookstore. Follett estimates that students will collectively be able to save as much as $2 million this year, and they have established a $100,000 textbook scholarship fund.

In addition, faculty have been reviewing their syllabi to identify more free, on-line resources and to determine that each book specified on the syllabus is still relevant to the learning objectives. By looking for alternative sources for class materials, faculty submitted nearly 20% fewer required titles for purchase for their classes this fall and last spring.

Ongoing Efforts from Last Year – Fundraising, Three-year Humanities Degree, Student Employment

  • The Momentum Campaign to raise $1 billion for scholarship aid now stands at $811 million
  • Humanities faculty in the Faculty of Arts and Science have developed an optional three-year pathway for students pursuing a humanities major; faculty in other schools are also examining undergraduate and graduate degrees that can shorten the time to graduation.
  • Over 15,000 NYU students are signed up for WayUp – a digital platform to connect early career professionals with jobs and advice – and increasing numbers of NYU offices are using the platform to hire students.

Focus for the Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group in 2017-18

Though there have been broad-based affordability actions – reduced increases in tuition and fees, conversion of more student housing units to lower cost beds, etc. – much of the Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group’s focus since its establishment in the spring of 2016 has been on specific, discrete efforts to save students and families money that work for some students but not always all. The Steering Committee and Working Group will continue to look for those opportunities but in the coming year expects to concentrate more consciously on broader systemic and structural savings that can be redirected to our affordability efforts. This work will be reflected in the updates the Steering Committee and Working Group issue during the coming year.